FIRST, apologies for any missing names, or inexact words of speakers I quote. Each scientist interviewed was name-captioned at least once, but I wasn't taking notes in the dark theater, and they were not always identified each time they appeared. The website covers a few but not all. I doubt if I will spend another $6 (bargain matinée), though I might rent Expelled later for another look. I'm trying to be vigilant in my quotes and represent them accurately.
I wonder if my fellow believers really know what they're getting into, when they ask that Intelligent Design be taught to students?
The film at first seems to make a reasonable request. Ben Stein walks all over the world in his suit and sneakers, interviewing scientists. The film time he gives to all his interviewees, on both sides, is fair. He doesn't edit his "opponents" to make them look stupid. Occasionally they fumble the ball, and I can't blame Stein for using the footage. I'd use it too.
He talks to scientists who claim to have been ousted from teaching positions for such seemingly mild transgressions as mentioning the existence of the ID point of view.
If they really get fired for such mild acknowledgements that ID exists, then that's obviously out of bounds. But Stein doesn't tell us the facts of their cases. I'm not saying they all are guilty, all I'm saying is the film didn't put that to rest.
Then there's another very reasonable statement from Dr. Richard Sternberg. I thought, he says, that science was free to ask any question and then follow the research wherever it leads.
It should be. No argument from me, but as the film progresses, it becomes clear that this is not what Stein or his pro-ID interviewees really want.
The specious equation of Darwin's theory with Nazi atrocities (discussed in my first post about Expelled) was a big mistake on Stein's part, and should be resoundingly denounced by Christians everywhere. Dehumanization of other races or the "unfit" has existed throughout human history, it is not something Darwin caused or advocated.
Darwin did state that:
"At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world." - Darwin, Descent, vol. I, 201. [Source: "Quote Mine Project" Scroll down to quote 2.10]
For a knowledgeable view of the issue, Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler, offers this piece on his website.
I maintain that the use of Nazi extermination in Stein's film to vilify Darwinism requires equating genocide advocacy with the theory that the Nazis hijacked and mutated from a benign cell into a cancer. It's inaccurate and wrong to do so.
It indicates to me that a fair hearing for ID isn't what ID proponents want. They want Darwinism vilified. If science departments are acting paranoid and ousting any professor who whispers "ID," they're beating a dandelion with a tire iron, but the hidden ID agenda to vilify evolution makes their reaction, NOT justified, but understandable.
See, the real controversy isn't about advanced-level Origins research, either in astrophysics or evolution. The trouble is that the controversy is about us commonfolk. It's about what we should be taught. Stein mocks the nanny mentality with an ancient film clip in which some blowhard says, "People can't make decisions for themselves." But in the realm of advanced science, is that an entirely crazy statement? I'm not equipped to evaluate DNA research or theoretical physics. I took my last science class as a high school sophomore. 1969-70. Yeah, really.
Time out to warn any unfamiliar readers dropping by that I am an avowed Christian. I feel quite certain that there's a creator God.
But Darwin doesn't bother me. His theory has been modified through much new knowledge in the past 150 years, and if we let facts pull us forward, then any untruths in it will fall on their own. So God is a fact? Great, then we need not worry about any line of inquiry that follows facts, right?
I fear that there are a lot of believers who hear Richard Dawkins and others say that their scientific journey killed their belief in God. Then the believers malign the science, thinking "If it's creating atheism, it must be wrong." The film runs with this.
Well I say: if anyone thinks that premature atheist conclusions formed by individuals mean that the science which brought the conclusions about is evil, then they're thinking way too small. And drawing a premature conclusion that there's hard data supporting an Intelligent Designer at this point is just as wrong. There could someday be proof, but if we make a claim that later gets knocked down, that can even do greater damage to faith.
One pro-ID interviewee whose name I missed came right out with it: Maybe, he said, we're going about research the wrong way. Traditionally one investigates and eventually the results lead one to forming a world view. But maybe we need to start with a world view and then do the research.
Wrong turn. The answer comes at the end, not the beginning. We can't know where God ends and physics and chemistry take over, until we follow the whole scientific trail back to it. We're way way early on that trail.
Here's how it looks to me. Human learning is like building an arch, and the answer to the God question is the keystone. Placing either atheism or ID in the classroom, considering humanity's current level of knowledge, is like trying to place a keystone without completing the piers and the arch-stones. You can't build an arch backwards.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE)
And that is why the insistence of believers that science courses address that issue -- lay a keystone right now -- is out of order, out of line, absurd. Any teacher who is claiming to understand and define the nature of that keystone is out of line, and yes, that goes for defining it as a godless scientific force, as well as for defining it as God. Either one deserves the to lose credibility, if he/she calls it anything other than an opinion. Its nature is way beyond our comprehension. When humanity is ready for that stone, it will be ready for us.
Illustration from: Winston's Cumulative Encyclopedia. Charles Morris, Editor-in-Chief. Philadelphia and Chicago : The John C. Winston Company, 1914. Vol. 1, s.v. "Arch," unpaged.